Relief possibly in sight for residents in Reigate affected by Gatwick flight departures noise

During 2014 there was a change to a flight path (Route 4) taking off to the west from Gatwick, curving to the north. The change meant the planes went further north than usual, on a less tighter turn than before. This subjected thousands of people, not previously over-flown, to intense aircraft noise. The local group Plane Wrong, was set up as a result. Now the CAA Board has finally completed its PIR (Post Implementation Review) and adopted a recommendation on departure Route 4 to essentially shift the point at which aircraft take the turn and to fly further south of Reigate and Redhill, keeping planes within the long-established Noise Preferential Route (NPR). The change is expected to come into effect by the end of the year. The recommended change will not be a simple reversion to the old system, but will use the new satellite based technology PR-NAV to replicate the old pattern of take-offs. Local MP Crispin Blunt has been pressing for urgent changes to the flight path, following ongoing delays by the CAA to implement a solution. Over 15,000 people responded to the CAA’s public consultation on the implementation of PR-NAV at Gatwick, a sign of the strength of feeling about the extent of the noise problem.


Relief finally in sight for residents affected by Gatwick flight departures noise

Thursday, 17 September, 2015

(Website of Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate)

Crispin Blunt MP met with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) this week to continue to press for urgent changes to the Gatwick westerly departure flight path following ongoing delays to implement a solution.

The CAA has taken longer than expected to conduct a review of the introduction in 2014 of satellite precision-area navigation (PR-NAV) technology on Gatwick departures. The changes led to an increase in flights overflying south Reigate and Redhill, and an explosion of complaints from residents newly affected by noise pollution. Over 15,000 people responded to the CAA’s public consultation on the implementation of PR-NAV at Gatwick, a sign of the strength of feeling on the issue.

[ Crispin Blunt writes that: “The CAA Board has finally completed the review and adopted a recommendation on departure Route 4 to essentially shift the point at which aircraft take the turn and to fly further south of Reigate and Redhill, keeping planes within the long-established Noise Preferential Route. This recommended change will not be a simple reversion to the old system, but will use the new satellite based technology to replicate the old pattern of take-offs. The change is expected to come into effect by the end of the year.”  

However, local campaigners say this is not yet true. They say:

“This isn’t yet the case that the LAM 26 route problem has been resolved.  The CAA PIR has not yet been published. It is very overdue – it should have been published early this year – but it is now expected to be published shortly.  The proposal put forward has not yet been ratified and is still subject to a public consultation and to a further two months trail. The chances of it being in place before the end of March are pretty remote let alone the end of the year. That was confirmed in NATMAG on 24th September at Gatwick.” ]

[The local campaign says: 

“Although the proposal continues to use PR Nav it will not replicate the old pattern. In fact there will be a group of people who will be significantly more impacted than previously as they will end up with a concentrated route overhead even though they are in the NPR.  It is likely that the suggested proposal will happen, but there’s no certainty of that. There will be local opposition. Crispin Blunt has made this statement, in advance of it actually being true.”


Crispin Blunt commented:

“Not before time there is movement towards a solution for those residents who last year found their homes and gardens being overflown by planes taking off from Gatwick.

“It is extremely disappointing that it has taken until now to get a decision to change this departure route which has caused misery for residents living underneath this concentrated flight path. When I met the CAA in March, they were confident that a solution could be implemented before the end of the summer.

“The noise pollution has been so horrendous on the concentrated take-off route over south Reigate and Redhill that thousands of local people have been submitting complaints to the CAA and Gatwick’s Noise Line.

“Gatwick Airport must not waste any time in coming forward with a proposal to implement the CAA’s recommended change. I understand that this is ready but has to be flight tested and incorporated into airlines’ flight schedules for pilots. Assuming there are no more hiccups, this should be done by mid-November. But with the experience of disappointing delays in process, by the CAA not devoting sufficient resources to assess the substantial reaction from residents, and in Gatwick Airport coming forward with a technically sound “fix”, I would be pleasantly surprised if this is done in time for Christmas.

“My priority is to see that the change come into effect as quickly as possible. Relief for local residents is urgently needed without impacting another group as badly. Whilst the change should be an improvement, I am still concerned that the new flight path will be highly concentrated.

“I want to continue to monitor the impact of this and other concentrated PR-NAV satellite based routes and ensure that Government policy provides for greater dispersal and multiple respites for affected areas so as to alleviate aviation noise on local communities.”

Latest statement by the CAA – click here. (Copied below)




PlaneWrong is a non political group set up by residents in September 2014 to campaign for a reversal in the recent changes to Gatwick Airport Flight Paths.

Our aims are:

  • to protest against the changes to the westerly departure route R26DVR/BIG/CLN/LAM from Gatwick Airport, effective from November 2013, and to re-instate all flight paths on this route within the NPR, which was established when the airport opened in 1968.

  • to obtain respite for those under PBN concentrated flight paths on both westerly departure route R26DVR/BIG/CLN/LAM and easterly departure route R08KENET.  

  • to ensure that any consultation conducted with the general public is accessible, understandable and unbiased.

  • to provide a view on any proposals relating to a second runway at Gatwick Airport.


Local group, PLANE WRONG’s letter to the DfT

September 21st 2015

One of our activities over the summer has been to seek legal advice about the post implementation review (PIR) process being undertaken by the CAA. This is the CAA’s review of the impact of the changes made to flight paths last year as a result of the introduction of new navigation systems.

As a result that review, we were advised to write to the DfT to seek assurances that the CAA will take proper account of representations made through the PIR by ourselves and other groups that were impacted by the change.

A copy of our letter is available in the adjacent download section. In the letter, we ask the DfT to act to enforce the Noise Preferential Routes (NPR) and see reassurance that no changes will be permitted to it.

It is thanks to the generous donations made by Plane Wrong members and supporters that we have been able to seek advice on this matter.

We are continuing to work with other campaign groups to lobby the DfT over concentration and to ensure that the concerns of those under the flightpaths at Gatwick are taken seriously.



PLANE WRONG’s letter:

31 August 2015

Dear Mr McLoughlin,

Aviation Noise from Gatwick Airport

Plane Wrong is a group of residents living to the north of Gatwick airport in villages and
towns including Dorking, Reigate and Redhill. It was founded a year ago in response to
noise from aircraft departing from Gatwick Airport.

Last summer, local residents suddenly, and without warning, found themselves being
regularly overflown by low flying aircraft taking off from the airport. Neither the CAA nor
Gatwick Airport had consulted residents about these changes. The aircraft were flying over
locations where aircraft had only rarely flown before, and were flying over these locations
more frequently because they were less dispersed laterally than they had been previously.
The change meant that whereas before local residents were aware of only a few aircraft in
the distance they are now overflown by departing aircraft at a frequency, at its worst, of
about one per minute and at levels of noise which make it impossible to hold conversations,
enjoy our gardens or leave our windows open.

It became apparent to us last year that the change was decided on in August 2013. We
refer to the CAA’s letter of 14 August 2013. (We enclose a copy for ease of use.) Please
note that we became aware of this letter only in August 2014.
As envisaged in that letter the CAA is now carrying out an operational review of the relevant Airspace Change Process, and accordingly, having taken legal advice, we are writing this letter to you.

The first point we wish to make is that the CAA have invited comments, which we as a
group, and others, have provided, and we now hope and expect that they will take full
account of these comments, including those which we and our supporters would have made
had we been consulted in the first place. Also it is clear that the impact of the changes on
residents could not have been known about at the time of the original decision, but only (as
now) after the changes were put into effect.

We are also writing to you also because you are responsible for the noise policy at Gatwick,
and for designating Noise Preferential Routes (“NPRs”).

One feature of the airspace change is that aircraft are flying outside at least one of the NPRs
surrounding the airport. It is not at all clear as to the extent to which this is happening
with your knowledge or approval. We should be grateful if you would clarify this. Certainly,
we believe that what is happening is contrary to government policy.

We therefore request that you act to enforce the NPR; we also seek your reassurance that
no change will be permitted to it.

Finally, we also ask you to ensure that the CAA will take full account of our representations
on noise before making any decisions in connection with its PIR. In this regard we request
that you notify the CAA of the UK’s international obligations under (UNECE) Convention on
Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in
Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention).

We should be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this letter by return and if you
would reply in full as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully

Mike Ward
Plane Wrong

Copies to
Phil Roberts, CAA
Sir Paul Beresford MP
Crispin Blunt MP



2013 Changes to Gatwick departures (RNAV 1 SIDS)

Change to airspace structure

We aim to publish the full contents of all documents received by us during the change process. Occasionally it will be necessary for us to consider, under our Environmental Information Regulation obligations, whether some information cannot be disclosed or can only be disclosed in a way which balances the rights of the owners of the information against the public interest in transparency, especially information which is commercially confidential or protected by intellectual property rights.

Last updated: 17 September 2015

PIR public update

In November 2014 we commenced the Post Implementation Review or PIR of the November 2013 changes to the SIDs [Standard Instrument Departures] at Gatwick which enabled the use by aircraft of modern satellite technology for air navigation for the first time.

The purpose of the PIR is for the CAA, as the independent regulator, to assess whether the change has delivered the anticipated impacts and benefits set out in the original airspace change proposal and decision, and if not to ascertain why, and to determine the most appropriate course of action.

We have always recognised that this work will take time, as there is a significant amount of data and information, including public comments, to analyse. At the same time, we fully understand and appreciate the significance of this issue and have worked hard to deliver a conclusion as quickly as possible.

We have received a great deal of information and data to analyse and when we publish our report it is our intention to make public the data which the CAA has had available to it and taken into account.

By the end of June 2015 we were satisfied that we had received all the data that we needed to carry out the review and had fully understood what that data was telling us. That has included a thorough review and assessment of the comments and information we received from members of the public that e-mailed or wrote to the CAA.

The CAA’s review team has considered recommendations over the summer. The team’s hi-level recommendations were presented to, and accepted by, the CAA Board this week. Over the next few weeks the CAA will be working on, and testing, the formulation of each recommendation with technical experts and with Gatwick. Both the CAA and Gatwick appreciate the importance of completing this work as soon as possible and are working as expeditiously as possible to enable the CAA to conclude the review’s findings.

At the same time we are working on our detailed report which will include information on the data we used to conduct this review, the conclusions we reached and why we settled on the final recommendations. Those final recommendations will be published as soon we are confident we have reached the best possible conclusion based on the information and data we have reviewed.

…. and there links to documents from a couple of years ago …..